Vintage 2017: Frost hits French wine regions

Wednesday May 10 2017 by Vitisphere

After an icy cold week, the French wine regions were assessing the damage of frost which affected large swathes of vineyards. Although the scale has not (yet) reached that of the black ice spell in 1991, this latest frost event is severe and worsened by early bud-burst across the French wine regions; the phenological phase is 10 to 15 days early this year. Growers are currently totting up the damage in Languedoc , Alsace and the Loire Valley. In Champagne “it is still too early to estimate losses, especially as a second wave has been forecast for next week and not all regions have the same sensitivity”, tempers Maxime Toubart, chairman of the region’s wine growers’ association.

In Jura, “damage is still inconsistent with some vineyards unscathed and others 100% affected. I would like to be able to say the same tomorrow, which would mean that the worst is behind us”, admits Jean-Charles Tissot, chairman of the Jura wine marketing board. He estimates that 45% of Jura’s vineyards have been affected. “The damage is irreversible for part of the crop. The initial buds affected by frost were fruit-bearing, in some places there were even flowers. The second buds will produce canes but no fruit”, he announces despondently, pointing out that inventories of Jura wines are already at their lowest.

 

Source: Vitisphere. Photo: Yonne chamber of agriculture archives

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